[toc]The fundraising campaign for The International 2017 has gotten off to a blistering start.
At the current rate, the campaign will not only surpass, but crush, last year’s high-water mark of $20,770,460.
But just how high will it go? Is $25 million out of the question?
A little bit of old, a whole lot of new
For this year’s campaign, Valve will contribute 25 percent of Battle Pass and Battle Pass Levels sales to the prize fund for the biggest Dota 2 event of the calendar year. It kicked off the campaign with $1.6 million in seed money.
This is little different than the model instituted by the game development and digital distribution behemoth in years past. However, the constituents of the 2017 Battle Pass have been altered significantly, and apparently to great effect.
New components of this year’s pass include:
- Multiplayer campaign: Battle Pass owners will be invited to join up for a co-op campaign. Act I will be available later this month. Act II launches sometime in July.
- Team quests: Also on the menu are team quests, whereby groups of players can receive rewards including extra Battle Points, Completion Rewards and style upgrades.
- Gambling: Players will have more opportunities to earn Battle Points via wagering than ever before. Token wagering on matches, trivia games and a unique “Predict the Prize Pool” are all part of this year’s rollout.
Making an expected return are Immortal Treasures (there will be three in total), special seasonal effects, unlockable and exclusive rewards, and of course, The International Compendium — which acts as a digital companion for all things related to the event.
So far, this juxtaposition of old and new has paid dividends. The campaign raised a shade over $9 million from its onset on May 4 through May 15.
At the time of this writing, the current tally stands at $9,269,174 — although we’re quite certain that figure will be obsolete within hours.
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How is this year’s campaign stacking up?
It’s still a bit early, but there’s strong reason to believe that the final prize fund for The International 2017 will be the largest in esports history, and not by the smallest of margins.
According to tracking website dota2.prizetrac.kr, on Day 11 of the 2015 campaign, the prize fund was up to $7,557,339. And on the same day in 2016, it had just surpassed $8.1 million — $8,130,982 to be exact.
So far, 2017 is outpacing last year’s record-breaker by nearly $900,000, and the divide is growing with each passing day.
In 2016, total campaign contributions accounted for $19,170,460 of the prize fund, with 34.1 percent of those contributions coming in the first 11 days. Applying that percentage to this year’s campaign reveals estimated user contributions of $21.74 million.
Tack on Valve’s $1.6 million seed fund, and that figure grows to $23.34 million, or $2.57 million more than last year’s prize pool.
And that’s just the bear case
The aforementioned figure is a somewhat cautious estimate, for a few reasons:
- The 2017 campaign will be notably longer than its 2016 counterpart, which ran a total of 89 days. There are approximately 100 days between this year’s campaign kickoff and the day that The International 2017 champion will be crowned at KeyArena in Seattle (August 12).
- Despite the campaign’s longer length, the prize pool is growing at a slightly greater relative rate compared to last year. To illustrate, on Day 10 of last year’s campaign, the prize pool swelled by 2.18 percent. On the same day this year, it spiked 2.41 percent.
- Valve has shown a tendency to one up itself with each passing campaign. Last year, in addition to the launch of a Collector’s Cache, it hosted a one-off weekend sale that resulted in a sizable sales surge. We expect Valve to have even more tricks up its sleeve this time around.
Taking all of these variables into account, there is a path for this year’s campaign that results in a $25 million prize fund.
It’s admittedly not a likely one, but what’s nearly guaranteed is that The International 2017 will represent a historic victory for the esports community.